Calendar Item 153

Print this page
Legislative Committee ReportClose Window X
Committee Moves to Adopt as Amended
Petition 80831-CO-NonDis $
Worldwide Nature UMC #24
Petition Number: 80831-CO-NonDis-$; Jones, Scott J. - Washington, DC, USA for Council of Bishops and for Connectional Table.  
Worldwide Nature UMC #24  
Resolved: That the Council of Bishops and Connectional Table will jointly appoint a study committee of twenty (20) persons representative of all geographical regions of the church.  This committee shall include persons from the prior committee.   continue their study of how to lead the United Methodist Church to reflect its worldwide nature and explore how the Book of Discipline might be altered so that the United States would be one Regional Conference while maintaining the current jurisdictions.  This committee shall report back to the 2012 General Conference with legislation possibly altering the Book of Discipline so that the United States would be one Regional Conference out of many within the worldwide United Methodist Church.  The study will include consultation with the Affiliated Autonomous and Affiliated United Churches. Cost for this study will be borne by the Episcopal Fund and the General Administration Fund. All proposals It should be guided by the following principles:  
A. Basic Guidelines  
  1. “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ;” Matthew 28:19 further clarifies that this mission is to “all nations.”  The United Methodist Church must find a way to better organize itself for this global mission.
2. The unity of the United Methodist Church is a gift given by God; any proposed restructuring changes of the United Methodist Church must ensure that the church is united by our mission, our doctrine, and our discipline.
3. In order for the Church to be effective in diverse locales, some freedom to vary within the Church must be given to Regional Conferences as long as it is not contrary to the mission, doctrine, or basic discipline of the United Methodist Church.  For example, some Regional Conferences must be given the right to ordain persons without the educational criteria required in the United States.
4. The United States portion of the United Methodist Church needs the “central conferences” as much as the “central conferences” need the United States.  The United Methodist Church must continually be conscious of matters of equity in the church.  
5. Since representation is a key issue across the church, the Study Committee will give that increased attention.
6. Because of our respect for other churches of the Wesleyan tradition, special attention will be given to the impact of proposed changes in our relationship with member churches of the World Methodist Church.
B A . Scheduling Guidelines General Conference and US Regional Conference 
    1.    The General Conference would meet for one week with the same number of delegates as currently elected apportioned in the same way as now done.  
    2.    Following the meeting of the General Conference, the US delegates to General Conference would meet as the US Regional Conference to conduct its business.  
    3.    General Conference will always meet prior to any and all Regional Conferences.  
    4.    While this arrangement could continue indefinitely, each body could decide to meet at a separate time and place. However, for reasons of cost and the long-range plans already made for General Conferences in the near future, it is envisioned that back-to-back meetings will be held in the United States for the first two quadrennia after passage.  
C B . Powers of the General Conference  
Essentially, the power of the General Conference will remain the same. As stated in ¶ 16, the General Conference will be in charge of “all matters distinctly connectional.”  In those places where the discipline is overly complex and not easily divided, this petition submits guidelines to direct the work of the study.  Specifically, it will have authority over the following:
    1. Resolutions on global issues
   2 1 . Constitution ¶ 1-99
    3 2 . Doctrinal Standards, Doctrinal History, Doctrinal Heritage and Our Theological Task ¶ 101-104
         4 3 . Mission Statements and Global Mission Initiatives ¶ 120 - 141
   5 4 . Social Principles ¶160 - 166
  6. The Local Church and Church Membership
       a. All definitions and basic functions of the local church
       b. The requirements, definition, and meaning of membership
7. Ministry of the Ordained
        a. Nature and function of the orders of Deacon and Elder - including the    basic qualifications as found in ¶ 304
               b. Historic examination for Elders and Deacons  
       c. The system of itinerancy
        d. General provisions detailing clergy membership at the annual conference level and gender inclusively within the clergy
          8. The Superintendency  
        a. All details concerning the Episcopacy because Bishops remain Bishops of the whole church.  
b. Nature and Function of District Superintendents
          9. The Conferences ¶ 501 - 591
10. The Annual Conference ¶ 601 - 609
         5. Resolutions on Global Issues
   6. Clergy Orders  
   7. Episcopacy. The Council of Bishops remains the Council for the whole church. 
  9 11. Administrative Order defined or delegated ¶ 701 - 2406 except for ¶815 - 816
12. Church Property ¶ 2501 - 2505
13. Judicial Administration ¶  2601 - 2719  
11 14. Relationships with other denominations, world communions and interreligious groups
8 . Financial Matters regarding the following funds: World Service, Episcopal, Interdenominational Cooperation, and General Administration, and Africa University. GCFA remains a Council for the whole church. 
          10.  Judicial order for global matters.  The Judicial Council remains a general church body elected at General Conference.
12.  Definition of and requirements for church membership defined or delegated.
D. Duties and Powers of Regional Conferences -  
  The duties shall remain as stated in ¶ 31 for Central Conferences:  
1. To promote the mission of the church within their own boundaries. See ¶ 31.1
2. Elect bishops in the regional conferences where there are no jurisdictional conferences - see ¶ 31.2
3.  Establish required boards and officers - see ¶ 31.3
4. Determine boundaries of annual conferences within its borders - see ¶ 31.4
5. Appoint a judicial court for questions about the rules and actions of the regional conference - see ¶ 31.6
6. Appoint a committee to determine the appeal of a clergy member from the decision of a committee on trial - see ¶ 31.7
7.  Make Rules and Regulations for work within its boundaries as allowed by the General Discipline
Specifically, it will have authority over the following:
        1. Resolutions on regional issues
2. The Local Church and Church Membership  
          a. Details concerning admission into the church
              b. The method of keeping the rolls of each church
c. Organization and administration of each local church
        3. The Ministry of the Ordained
       a. Candidacy process for both licensed and ordained ministry
       b. Requirements for Ordination - see ¶¶ 330-331 and 335
       c. Evaluation and details of conference membership
4.The Superintendency
       a. Organization of District Superintendents
       b. Selection, assignment, and term of District Superintendents
5. Councils and Agencies of the Annual Conference ¶ 610 - 655
6. The District Conference ¶ 656 - 669
7. Church Property ¶ 2506 - 2552  
8. Regional funds for work within its borders -Black College Fund ¶ 815, MEF   ¶ 816
E. Powers and duties of Jurisdictional Conferences - remain the same, see ¶ 27
F C . General Agencies  
    All General Agencies remain as agencies for the whole church.  
    G. Powers of Annual Conferences, District Conferences and Charge Conferences remain the same.
    These proposals and guidelines shall be considered binding on the study committee, its work, and its report back to General Conference in 2012.  

Furthermore, this committee shall study, answer, and (if necessary) provide legislation to these questions:
1.  How can apportionments begin to live into this worldwide nature of the church?
2.  Conduct a full review of the Discipline, identify all areas of the Book of Discipline requiring changes to implement this report.